Atlanta United Earns Point in 2021 MLS Season Opener
ORLANDO, Fla. - Atlanta United opened its 2021 MLS Regular Season with a 0-0 draw against Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium on Saturday. Brad Guzan made three saves to keep his 43rd clean sheet for the club and the team ran it's shutout streak to three consecutive matches to start its competitive season.
An evenly played first half ended with a pair of opportunities for each team. After a pair of free kicks led to aerial opportunities for Orlando that ultimately missed the net, one of Atlanta's better chances came in the 43rd minute. After receiving a pass near the wing, Jake Mulraney cut inside and unleashed a left-footed shot from the top of the box that forced a save from Pedro Gallese.
The game opened up in the second half with each team having opportunities early. Orlando's best chance came in the 72nd minute when Chris Mueller found Alexandre Pato inside the penalty area. Last-ditch defending from Anton Walkes may have saved a goal, but his deflection still required a save from Guzan that the veteran was ultimately able to make.
Atlanta had a pair of chances late. In the 85th minute, second-half substitute and debutant Machop Chol was in on goal and just missed redirecting a cross from Brooks Lennon. Four minutes later, fellow second-half substitute Franco Ibarra's shot from distance forced another save from Gallese.
Next up for Atlanta (0-0-1, 1 point) is the club's home opener of the 2021 MLS Regular Season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium next Saturday, April 24 against Chicago Fire SC (8:00 p.m. ET, Bally Sports South, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game). It will take on Philadelphia Union in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Tuesday, April 27.
Atlanta United 0, Orlando City 0
Shots on Target: 3-3
Corner kicks: 4-3 Atlanta
Fouls committed: 12-9 Atlanta
Possession: 56-40 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 88-82 Atlanta
ATLANTA UNITED STARTING LINEUP
Brad Guzan ©; George Bello, Anton Walkes, Miles Robinson, Brooks Lennon; Santiago Sosa, Emerson Hyndman (Jürgen Damm - 83'), Ezequiel Barco; Marcelino Moreno (Franco Ibarra - 75'), Lisandro López (Josef Martinez - 75'), Jake Mulraney (Machop Chol - 66')
Substitutes not used: Rocco Ríos Novo, Mikey Ambrose, George Campbell, Ronald Hernandez, Tyler Wolff.
ORLANDO CITY SC STARTING LINEUP
Pedro Gallese; Ruan, Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith, Antonio Carlos; Sebastian Mendez, Junior Urso, Chris Mueller (Matheus Aias - 90+1'), Nani © (Benji Michel - 71'); Alexandre Pato (Silvester van der Water - 80'), Tesho Akindele (Andres Perea - HT)
Substitutes not used: Brandon Austin, Michael Halliday, Rio Hope-Gund, David Loera, Joey DeZart.
Jair Marrufo (referee), Jose Da Silva, (assistant), Adam Garner, (assistant), Tori Penso (fourth), Younes Marrakchi (VAR), Kyle Longville (AVAR).
Homegrown Machop Chol made his professional debut. A rookie who played for Atlanta's inaugural U-19s, Chol spent the last four seasons at Wake Forest.
It was also the first MLS Regular Season game in an Atlanta United kit for Santiago Sosa, Lisandro Lopez and Franco Ibarra.
Brad Guzan kept his 37th clean sheet in club history during regular season matches. He also has six postseason clean sheets.
Brooks Lennon had 10 crosses, the most he's had for the club, and the second highest of his career.
Miles Robinson had a game-high 10 recoveries.
Anton Walkes had a pair of blocks, including a team-high five clearances and three interceptions.
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